The Unreliable Guide To… Stress-free MovingBritish newspaper The Daily Express published an article last year stating that moving home was more stressful than divorce, and, like a marriage, sometimes you’ve just got to go. Maybe one day you’ll realise that if you hear your neighbour singing Cold Chisel at 2am one more time you will insert an actual chisel into his head (or other appropriate orifice). Or you might procreate and find that babies need a lot more space than you expected. Your landlord might even tell you that he’s turning your unit into a casino/lap dancing club and you’re no longer welcome. Whatever the reason, moving happens to most of us eventually and it can be both an emotional rollercoaster and a logistical nightmare. If the very thought of it has you reaching for the Valium, fear not; the Unreliable Guide is here to help…
1) Declutter yourself.
I once helped a friend move apartments, from the third floor of one block to the fourth of another. More than half of his seventy-five boxes of stuff consisted of what any sane person would define as rubbish. A vast collection of pebbles, feathers, old ink bottles, unwearable clothes, unreadable books, and unplayable records. Before you even start to pack, make a vow to chuck stuff out. Be bold, be brave, be ruthless. If something’s too good for the garbage, give it to an op shop, put ii on Freecycle or place an ad on Gumtree. Don’t expect me to help you carry it up four flights of stairs.
2) Hire removalists.
So despite de-cluttering, you still have a shedload of stuff to move. Do not hesitate, do not nit-pick, get on the phone and hire some removalists. It will be the best money you ever spend. Last time we moved, a seven-foot Scandinavian god carried our huge potted tree up three flights without even breaking a sweat. These guys are legendary. Just do the valuables and breakables yourself: gods are not infallible.
3) Get takeaway.
Moving takes a lot of energy, both physical and mental, so if you don’t eat, it will not go well for you. Trouble is, the fridge is in the garden, the cutlery is on the freeway, the plates are all broken and the stove won’t be connected until next Wednesday. To avoid eating vodka-soaked Weetbix with your fingers, arm yourself with a sheaf of takeaway menus. You choose, you call and forty minutes later something edible arrives at your door. This, my friends, is civilisation at its finest.
4) Meeting your new neighbours.
Whenever I move into a new place I assume my new neighbours will be wonderful. They won’t be borderline psychotics like the last mob, they won’t exchange my possessions for meth, they won’t feel the need to re-enact hardcore pornos at top volume. New neighbours might seem nice, but the Unreliable Guide suggests caution. Don’t go handing out your mobile number/spare door key before you’ve sussed everyone out properly.
Finally, remember this: life is a journey and if you’re not moving, you’re standing still.